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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The tyranny of the scale


To weigh or not to weigh is always a big debate among the community of people who hope to lose weight by whatever method they choose - and there are often heated arguments on both sides. At one end you have people who weigh themselves several times daily, and on the other you have people who never weigh themselves!

Of course there is no right answer to this debate, as the only correct answer is the one that works for the person in question. For ME the correct answer is daily weighing - first thing in the morning.

This helps keep me honest, and keeps me from rude surprises. How many times in the past have I given up daily weighing, only to find that somehow I have gained 20 or 30 pounds in the meantime without realizing it? Alas when you are not a skinny Minnie, as I am not, 20 or 30 pounds is hardly noticeable. That is until you step on the scale and then it creates depression.

Only last summer I spent two weeks up in Canada without a scale, and I would have SWORN I kept to my eating habits, and ate only Real Food, and didn't eat any differently than usual. But when I got home I found I was 12 pounds heavier than I had been on the day I left for Canada, and I HATE rude surprises like that. Even eating as healthily as I can does not save me from those sorts of surprises.

So daily weighing keeps me on top of things before that 12-pound gain happens. But this past week I spent in North Carolina without a scale. I tried to be careful about what I ate, but I was still worried. I was especially worried as the day before I left for North Carolina I had inexplicably gained 4 pounds overnight. In the past such overnight gains were very common, but since I have modified my diet to avoid most all processed foods, and sticking to healthy real foods, I have rarely seen overnight gains like that. The scale varies up and down, but in much smaller increments.

So being scaleless in North Carolina had me nervous. Another 4-pound gain there would have put me at a number that would have been depressing for sure. The only good thing was that I tried on my jeans the day before I left to head home, and they still fit comfortably. The jeans are the only good barometer for me without a scale, as most of my other clothes can easily accommodate a 10-20 pound gain without perceptible change in comfort.

But getting on the scale on the day after my return home I found I was down the 4 pounds I had quickly gained, and was at the current lower end of my weight journey. So that was a relief for me. But getting on the scale after a gap of 8 days is just too nerve-wracking for me. That's why daily weighing is what I need to live with.

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